Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

Introduction to the verb alimenter

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The English translation of the French verb alimenter is “to feed” or “to supply.” It is pronounced “ah-lee-mahn-tay” in its infinitive form.

The word alimenter originated from the Latin word “alimentum,” meaning “nourishment” or “food.” It first appeared in the French language in the 15th century and its usage has evolved over time. Today, it is most often used in everyday French to refer to providing food or resources to something or someone.

In the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait tense, which expresses a hypothetical or imagined action in the past, alimenter is conjugated as follows:

  • J’eusse alimenté (I would have fed/supplied)
  • Tu eusses alimenté (You would have fed/supplied)
  • Il/Elle eût alimenté (He/She would have fed/supplied)
  • Nous eussions alimenté (We would have fed/supplied)
  • Vous eussiez alimenté (You would have fed/supplied)
  • Ils/Elles eussent alimenté (They would have fed/supplied)

Here are three simple examples of alimenter in the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait tense with their respective English translations:

  1. J’eusse alimenté le feu si j’avais du bois.
    (I would have fed the fire if I had wood.)

  2. Tu eusses alimenté le bébé s’il avait encore faim.
    (You would have fed the baby if he was still hungry.)

  3. Il eût alimenté ses réserves avant l’hiver.
    (He would have supplied his reserves before winter.)

Table of the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of alimenter

Pronoun Conjugation Example Usage English Translation
je eusse alimenté J’aurais préféré que je eusse alimenté. I would have preferred that I had fed.
tu eusses alimenté J’aurais préféré que tu eusses alimenté. I would have preferred that you had fed.
il eût alimenté J’aurais préféré qu’il eût alimenté. I would have preferred that he had fed.
elle eût alimenté J’aurais préféré qu’elle eût alimenté. I would have preferred that she had fed.
on eût alimenté J’aurais préféré qu’on eût alimenté. I would have preferred that one had fed.
nous eussions alimenté J’aurais préféré que nous eussions alimenté. I would have preferred that we had fed.
vous eussiez alimenté J’aurais préféré que vous eussiez alimenté. I would have preferred that you had fed.
ils eussent alimenté J’aurais préféré qu’ils eussent alimenté. I would have preferred that they had fed.
elles eussent alimenté J’aurais préféré qu’elles eussent alimenté. I would have preferred that they had fed.

Other Conjugations for Alimenter.

   
    Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

    Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

    Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

    Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

    Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
   

    Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

    L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter

    L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb alimenter
    (this article)

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Alimenter – About the French Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense

The French Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait, also known as the Pluperfect Subjunctive, is a verb tense used to express actions or states that occurred before another action in the past, and it’s used in situations where the indicative mood is in the past subjunctive or conditional mood.
NOTE: To take a deep dive into all the French tenses then see my article on Mastering French Tense Conjugation.

Formation

To form the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait, you start with the imperfect subjunctive form of the auxiliary verb “avoir” or “être,” followed by the past participle of the main verb. 
For “avoir” verbs: Take the imperfect subjunctive form of “avoir” (e.g., j’eusse, tu eusses, il/elle eût, nous eussions, vous eussiez, ils/elles eussent). Add the past participle of the main verb. 
For “être” verbs: Take the imperfect subjunctive form of “être” (e.g., je fusse, tu fusses, il/elle fût, nous fussions, vous fussiez, ils/elles fussent). Add the past participle of the main verb.

Common Everyday Usage Patterns

Hypothetical Situations

The Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait is often used to express hypothetical or unreal actions that occurred before another past action.
For example: J’aurais aimé que tu aies fini ton travail avant que je sois arrivé. (I would have liked for you to have finished your work before I arrived.) 

Reported Speech

In reported speech, you may use the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait to convey what someone said or thought in the past. 
For example: Il m’a dit qu’il avait peur que je n’aie pas compris. (He told me that he was afraid that I hadn’t understood.) 

Doubt, Wishes, and Emotions

This tense can also be used to express doubt, wishes, and emotions about past actions. 
For example: Je doutais qu’il eût dit la vérité. (I doubted that he had told the truth.) 
J’aurais souhaité que tu fusses venu. (I would have wished for you to have come.)

Interactions with Other Tenses

Present Subjunctive

The Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait can be used to describe past actions when the main verb is in the present subjunctive. 
For example: “Il faut que j’aie fini mon travail avant que tu partes.” (I must have finished my work before you leave.) 

Imperfect Subjunctive

It’s common to use the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait with the imperfect subjunctive in complex sentences. 
For example: “Il m’avait dit qu’il fût rentré avant la fin de la journée.” (He had told me that he had returned before the end of the day.) 

Conditional

When the main verb is in the conditional mood, the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait can be used to express past unreal conditions. 
For example: “Si j’avais su, j’aurais voulu que tu aies réussi.” (If I had known, I would have wanted you to have succeeded.)

Summary

The Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait is a complex tense used to convey nuanced meanings in French. While its usage may seem intricate, it becomes more intuitive with practice and exposure to the language. It’s important to understand the context in which it’s used, as it often conveys subtleties of time, conditionality, and emotion in French sentences.

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